Status: 11/16/2022 4:09 PM
The EU Commission wants more free movement of people and is pressing for the inclusion of Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania in the Schengen area. This makes Europe “safer, more prosperous and more attractive”. But there are concerns.
According to the EU Commission, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria are ready to join the Schengen Area. The Brussels authorities announced that the three countries have made a significant contribution to the smooth functioning of the Schengen area.
The largest union of countries in the world without border controls
All three are already partially bound by Schengen rules, but there are still controls at their borders. The EU Commission has argued that expanding the Schengen area will make Europe safer, more prosperous, and more attractive. It not only enables effective protection of external borders, but also expands the world’s largest association of countries with no border controls for travelers.
Concerns about escape routes and organized crime
The Commission has recommended the admission of Bulgaria and Romania since 2011. In the case of Croatia, member states have indicated their willingness to do so in principle at the end of 2021. However, some governments have reservations due to the renewed increase in migration numbers via the Balkan route and because of the candidate countries’ track record in Fighting organized crime.
A vote is scheduled for December 8. The expansion of the Schengen area requires a unanimous decision. It is possible that Croatia will become a member from 2023. It is unclear whether the Schengen countries will also agree to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania.
To date, 22 of the 27 EU countries plus non-EU countries such as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein belong to the Schengen Area.
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